A comparison of observed upwelling mechanisms off the east coast of Australia

Moninya Roughan*, Jason H. Middleton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)


The East Australian Current (EAC) forms the western boundary current of the South Pacific sub-tropical gyre. Locally it plays an important role in the nutrient enrichment of the oligotrophic coastal waters of New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Observations from two detailed hydrographic surveys conducted during November 1998 and February 1999 are used to delineate the processes influencing nutrient enrichment across the continental shelf off the central east coast of Australia. Four nutrient enrichment mechanisms are identified: wind-driven upwelling, upwelling driven by the encroachment of the EAC onto the continental shelf, acceleration of the current resulting from the narrowing of the continental shelf at Smoky Cape, and the separation of the EAC from the coast. This study demonstrates that both the strength of the current and its proximity to the coast determine the nature of the upwelling response. An increase in nutrient concentrations occurs downstream as a result of each of the mechanisms identified. The highest nutrient concentration is attributable to the encroachment of the current onto the shelf, whilst separation induced upwelling is the most widespread.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2551-2572
Number of pages22
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002


  • 20-40°S 150-155°E
  • Coastal upwelling
  • East Australian Current
  • Hydrographic survey
  • Smoky Cape


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